You can never own too many airports

Ní féidir leat do dhóthain aerfoirt a bheith agat— You can never own too many airports, so says the old Irish saying uttered by Peig Sayers and she in the last throes of her life below in the Kerry peninsula. And although airports had yet to be invented, and Alcock and Brown were still in nappies, when the withered auld sage said it in between wailing and woeing about missing the boat to Amerikay, the prophesy of it all will come true next Monday in City Hall when Galway City Council will discuss such matters and hope to add another airport to their long list of assets.

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, the City Council and the County Council didn’t have an airport between them, not two brass airports to rub together, now it seems like airports are the new currency. I’ll see your airport and raise you two airports.

By teatime on Monday, the councillors will have decided on whether or not to take a share in the ownership of Knock Airport (The Mayos, ya couldn’t be up to us ), just a small share like, there's no way that we Mayos will hand over any of the land or anything now to those councillors in Galway with their bag of cash and they just dying to be associated with a successful airport, and not just one they own that lies closed and suitable only for joyriding or for flying in the odd President. Not that the President is odd or anything, now like.

No, the Mayos have come walking in and being the cute hoors that we are, have told the Galway councils that we’ll sell them a share of our airport if they give us a bag of cash...each. Unmarked notes, and a helicopter. And some tickets for the races. And some coleslaw and chips.

You would think that the City Council would have more things for worrying about than buying airports, with the planes falling out of the trees with the hunger, because they already own the aforementioned one at Carnmore (The Artist Formerly Known As An Airport ), but sure they must have gotten the gra for things aviation with the desire now to get a bite of the Mayo cherry. They fancy themselves as regular Howards Hughes’. Airports are the new black. And they’re in if the County Council are in.

On Monday when they meet to fight, sorry decide on the budget, councillors will decide whether to invest about €50,000 to take up an equity shareholding in Ireland West Airport. The IWAK airport team came to Galway a few months ago and gave a presentation to city and county councillors on the merits of Galway’s proximity to Knock Airport and their promise to send a good chunk of the one million passengers Galway’s way...which they’d be more inclined to do if the Galway councils would cough up. If Galway says no, the Knock boys will turn the Galway roadsigns on the N17 towards Sligo.

Their invitation to councillors to ask questions about the airport was taken up with great gusto by Cllr Michael Stroke Fahy who went straight in and asked the pertinently relevant question which was on everyone’s lips — “how high now would you have to be flying to avoid them missiles?” he asked in the wake of the Air Malaysia disaster in the Ukraine. Having courteously and wisely dodged the question about blowing planes out of the sky, the Knock team reminded the councillors that they were there to talk about Knock Airport in particular, and not just about things aviation in general.

And although the visits to the councillors were primarily cap in hand trips, they were also to explain how the proximity of Knock Airport benefits the Galway economy – an argument that is also made by Shannon Airport. But maybe next year, the City and County Councils might buy that as well.

You’d never know when you’d need one. Or two. Or three.

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